As Carrie Underwood once admonished, “he’s probably buying her some fruity little drink ‘cause she can’t shoot whisky.” If, like Carrie, a fruity little drink sounds like your own personal hell, then you’ll get along with the crowd at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival 2023 in Bardstown.
Bourbon can be intimidating for newcomers — or even bourbon lovers and bourbon enthusiasts right here in the heart of bourbon country — but through hours or days of unlimited samples from 50 brands, including heritage labels like Makers Mark and Jim Beam and new wave craft distilleries, you can quickly find your footing. If you find a bourbon you love, you can buy bottles or exclusive runs at the Master Distillers Bottle Auction. (All this is, in part, in celebration of National Bourbon Heritage Month, so why not?)
With all that drinking in the “Bourbon Capital of the World,” the Kentucky Bourbon Festival’s educational programs might be a losing game, but hopefully you can retain a few facts. Take some mental notes at the barrel making demonstration by Independent Stave Co. and test your pallet with a bourbon tasting of rare and vintage pours with Travis Hill. If all of this sounds too high brow for your tastes, there’s always the World Championship Bourbon Barrel Relay competition where teams from Kentucky’s distilleries compete for bragging rights.
The Kentucky Bourbon Festival tastings and most programs are included with your ticket, but bring some extra cash for the food trucks sprawled across the grounds of Spalding Hall.
- Around 50,000 people attend.
- Tickets range from $95-$1,195.
- One day tickets and VIP tickets are available.
- Check out Fifty Grande’s guide to Kentucky here.
Where does the festival take place?
114 North 5th Street, Bardstown, Kentucky 40004
How far is Bardstown from Lexington?
The drive from Bardstown to Lexington is 59 miles.
How far is Bardstown from Louisville?
Louisville is 35 miles from Bardstown.
How much are Kentucky Bourbon Festival tickets?
Some of the Kentucky Bourbon Festival tickets are sold out as of mid July, but these are still available: The weekend bourbon taster pass is $175. The Sunday sampler single day pass is $95.
What is included in the admission price?
Each admission ticket includes a Glencairn KBF-branded tasting glass, access to ~50 distilleries on the festival grounds, live music, the Bourbon :30 show on the main stage, opportunity to purchase rare bottles, food trucks, and bourbon sampling from all participating distilleries on the festival grounds.
Are tickets refundable?
Tickets are non-refundable.
When did tickets go on sale?
Tickets went on sale May 11, 2023. Early access to purchase tickets was given to email subscribers (for the Bourbon Insider email) on May 10.
Where can I buy tickets?
See the link at the top of this page that says “check for tickets.”
What events can I expect at the festival?
Events include the annual World Championship Bourbon Barrel Relay bourbon barrel rolling competition, interactive educational sessions, live music, rare bourbon auction, Bourbon in the Air and more.
Is the Kentucky Bourbon Festival the same thing as Bourbon & Beyond?
No, these are separate events happening in two different cities over the same weekend.
Are The Black Keys, Duran Duran and Bruno Mars playing at this music festival?
No, that’s Bourbon and Beyond which is held September 14-17 in Louisville. Although the Kentucky Bourbon Festival has live music, it is primarily a bourbon festival. It’s not known as of this writing who will play the festival.
Are tickets available at the gate?
No, tickets are not available at the gate.
Is there an age limit to attend the festival?
You must be 21+ to attend. All ticketholders — ALL TICKETHOLDERS — must have an ID with them to verify age.
Will the festival be cancelled due to bad weather?
The festival will happen rain or shine.
What is prohibited at the festival?
Per the website:
- Outside alcoholic beverages and illegal drugs or substances
- Animals or pets (service animals as defined by ADA standards are permitted)
- Any item that could obstruct a guest’s enjoyment
- Any item that is deemed dangerous or perceived to be dangerous, unsafe, or offensive by KBF management
- Balls, frisbees or other airborne projectiles
- Banners or signs with non-KBF sponsor logos or messages
- Bottles, cans, containers, thermoses, or flasks not purchased on-site
- Fireworks, candles, flares or balloons
- Guns, knives or other items that can be considered weapons
- Hard or soft coolers, baskets, or duffel bags
- Laser pointers
- Lawn chairs
- Mace and pepper spray
- Outside foodProfessional cameras and camera equipment, tripods, and video or audio recording equipment not authorized by KBF management
- Skateboards, strollers and/or car seats
How far is Bardstown from the Kentucky Bourbon Trail?
Bardstown is at the heart of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and five Bardstown distilleries are on the trail: Bardstown Bourbon Company, Heaven Hill, Lux Row, Willett Distillery and Preservation Distillery.